Has it been six months already? It feels so long ago since we’ve already seen so much and done so many things. I do remember feeling apprehensive in the beginning, but now I’m so very happy. I have no desire to stop. If someone dared to restrain me to one place, prevent me from traveling, I’d find a way to get out there again. We’ve hit a few rough spots, but I’ve had many more wondrous and awesome experiences in the past few months on the road than I’ve had in years of living in one place. I’ve seen quite a bit of natural wonders, learned a fair bit of history, heard sone pretty cool stories, and met a lot of nice and interesting people. That being said, I still feel that’s just the tip of something bigger. I know that there’s more out there to learn, see, and do.
I still get anxious, but about different things, and oddly enough, about fewer things as well. For example, I like my environment to be clean and too much clutter drives me bonkers: It took me 4 hours or more to do a spring cleaning for our old 2,000 square foot home versus the 30 minutes to clean the inside of our Airstream trailer. I also don’t fret about a particular issue for very long either. Yes, our gas furnace is still broken, but we’re fine. If it gets too cold, we just migrate southward toward warmer climates. And I do have plans to get it fixed, but until it happens (this summer) we just move on.
What I am very pleased about (apart from visiting national parks, seeing some very stunning vistas and incredible wildlife) is that we spend less money overall. Part of it is out of necessity since we do not have a steady income. On the other hand, our efforts to pay off our all of our debt before our nomadic lifestyle really shows itself in our monthly expenditures. Not having a big house to sink money into additionally helps. We did have hefty income tax to pay and I sometimes feel disgust when I think about it, but it’s done and paid. By the way, here are a few numbers from our 6 months of travels:
- Total distance traveled: 4,235 Miles
- Total parks visited: 48 (including state parks, national monuments, and wildlife refuges)
- Monthly Average on RV Parking (aka Rent): $583/month
- Monthly Average on Gas: $296/month
- Monthly Average on Food: $776/month
Speaking of income, I’m trying to make some money from this blog. Here is what I know for sure: travel blogging requires countless hours of ongoing work to maintain and grow. Only the best of the best people in the travel blogging circuit make a livable income. I know that without a specific product or service to market, it is very hard to make money, especially in the fully saturated travel industry. Some of my favorite travel bloggers (and who have been forthcoming with their income on travel blogging) have been doing this for a dozen or so years. I’ve barely begun this travel blog compared to those already out there. Regardless, I like blogging about my travels and will continue to hone my writing skills on this little patch of virtual space.
I am also working on my photography. I love photography. I’m no seasoned expert, but I’m enjoying the learning process. I enjoy wildlife and landscape imagery the most. Again the market is saturated with travel photographers and the like. I seriously started on my photography skills also within the last six months. For the most part, I read a lot on photography and when I’m out hiking, I practice, practice and practice!
I would love to make money at both photography and travel blogging, but I don’t plan on making money from just a single source. As I see it, the traditional single source income is not indicative of a nomadic lifestyle. In all likelihood, income will probably come from many different sources utilizing all sorts of skills in all manner of ways. As for what those sources will be, I’m still working that out and in the planning stages.
There are not too many things I miss from my old stationary life. I miss having a full-size convection oven and having water that isn’t hard and full of minerals. I’m okay with not having a steady internet connection with a sizable bandwidth, unlike Hitch. I do miss seeing my friends face to face and gaming with them on a regular basis. I also miss the splendid selection and gastronomic diversity of Seattle restaurants.
Becoming a nomad is such a drastic upheaval and has taught me more about myself than any other lesson learned thus far. Some of my values have changed. How I see things and people also differs. Each location has its own culture. Sometimes people have a story to tell while others just stick to small chat. With each encounter, I learn something, become less wary and more open to people, adventure, new experiences, and nearly anything that’s new and interesting. I even took to practicing the Native American flute just for fun! My old self would have just scoffed if you told her that she’d take up the flute in the future! I also know myself little better, what I can and cannot do, and more accepting of that.
So yes, six months and I love my life more than ever. There is more that needs to be done both out of necessity and desire. I will no doubt learn more myself, for better or worse. I am looking forward to meeting new people and hearing more stories. I especially want to see more national parks and the amazing wildlife found within. And though I worry about certain things like money and security, I feel confident we’re moving in the right direction in both departments. But given all that, I now know that life is not about expecting, hoping and wishing. Life is about doing, being and becoming. That’s what I feel like I’ve done with my life in the past six months, and will continue doing.